SOCAN testimony on HB4080 Promoting offshore wind

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Bill Gorham Ph.D.
Facilitator, Coastal SOCAN
14834 Oceanview Dr
Brookings, OR 97415
(805) 377-9336
February 11th 2024

Reference Bill Number HB4080

Chair Holvey and Members of the House Committee on Business and Labor:

First, please allow me to apologize for missing the deadline for testimony submission for the Public Record. Although the Southern Oregon Climate Action Now Federal and State Project Team identified HB4080 as a high priority bill for our support, I regrettably missed the scheduled meeting and testimony submission deadline.  I therefore find myself with but one option to fulfill the charge of the committee to provide SOCAN’s support for the bill. That option, unfortunately, is to contact committee members directly.

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, an organization of some 2,000 Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and encourage state action to address it.  As rural and coastal Southern Oregonians, we live on the frontlines of the warming, reducing snowpack, heatwaves, drought and the increasing wildfire risk that these trends conspire to produce.  Because of this, we pay close attention to what is happening in Salem in terms of legislative proposals.

I write today to offer our support for HB4080. Those of us following the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are very much aware that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change argued several years ago (IPCC 2018) that it is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels.  This has become sufficiently well accepted that it has become generally assumed as the target (e.g., IPCC 2023). The industrial revolution is identified as having occurred in the mid – late 1700s through the early 1800s (Wilkinson 2023). By 2018, IPCC (2018) indicated that global temperatures had reached 1⁰C above pre-industrial temperature while IPCC (2023) identified warming as then reaching 1.1⁰C above the 1850-1900 immediate post-industrial revolution average. In fact, according to NASA (2024) last year the temperature anomaly over land was already above that critical value (NASA 2024) with every month from June onwards beating historic records.

Restricting warming the 1.5⁰C target was argued by the IPCC (2018) to require our collectively achieving net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 where net zero is defined to exists when “…the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere must equal the amount that is removed.  The simplest way to achieve this globally is for every jurisdiction to identify at least this as its individual goal and identify intermediate targets consistent with achieving that 2050 target.

The next task for jurisdictions, such as the state of Oregon, is to develop plans for reducing emissions.  This means reducing fossil fuel combustion and replacing that fossil fuel with renewable energy sources.  While there is skepticism in some circles about our collective ability to achieve the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable sources, in evaluating whether renewables can replace fossil fuels Prysmian (2024) offer the conclusion: “According to renewable energy policy think tank REN21, most barriers to moving out of the fossil fuel age are political rather than practical.”  This view is echoed by Inspire (2024) with the statement: “The best alternative to fossil fuels is to use all clean energy and alternative energy sources in tandem and then increase our dependence on clean energy sources as they become more efficient.” Stanford Environmental Engineer Mark Z. Jacobson (Carrington 2023) confirms these opinions by concluding: “Not only is a 100% renewables-powered world possible, it also promises much lower energy bills.” The Solutions Project, an organization spawned by Jacobson, has developed schemes whereby the United States as a whole (Solutions 2024a) and Oregon specifically (Solutions 2024b). For the nation as a whole, 100% Renewable Energy can be achieved with a contribution of 16.4% from offshore wind while for Oregon, this value is 15%. Clearly, offshore wind has a critical role to play in the state and the nation if we are to achieve net zero emissions.

In relation to the South Coast project, Basofin (2023) argued that: “Offshore wind from the Oregon Coast could provide up to 3 gigawatts of renewable electricity to the grid. That’s enough to power at least one million homes…” It’s worth noting that based on 2021 US. census data (Point2, 2022) reported Oregon contained 1,658,091 housing units so this offshore generation potential could serve over half the homes in the state.  Indeed, according to Ernst (2022), “Mark Thompson, an Oregon PUC commissioner, described southern Oregon and Northern California waters as being “the Saudi Arabia of offshore wind,” during a panel discussion at a Law Seminars International conference in April.”  Of course, a web search reveals that almost anywhere on the planet where the wind blows has been designated ‘the Saudi Aranbia of wind’ by someone.  Nevertheless, considering the potential for contributing to Oregon’s share of addressing the global climate crisis by transitioning from fossil fuels while simultaneously contributing to the economy of Southern Oregon coastal communities, offshore wind should not be ignored.

This, of course, is not to suggest there is no resistance to the development of floating offshore wind projects along coastal Curry and Coos County (e.g., Samayoa 2023; Morgan 2023) including those of the tribes, local fisherfolk and residents concerned about the view.

Rather than decreeing that the offshore wind projects should move forward, HB4080 acknowledges that area residents have concerns and essentially maps a procedure by which these concerns should be addressed.

Given the important role that offshore wind can play in serving the state’s goals in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the need to engage with area residents to resolve legitimate concerns, SOCAN supports HB4080.

Respectfully Submitted

Alan Journet                                       Bill Gorham

References Cited

Basofin J 2023 Is Offshore Wind in Oregon’s Future? Climate Solutions.,renewable%20electricity%20to%20the%20grid.

Carrington D 2023 ‘No miracles needed’: Prof Mark Jacobson on how wind, sun and water can power the world. The Guardian.,fall%2063%25%2C%20he%20says.

Ernst S 2022 Studies See Wide Range of Transmission Costs for Offshore Oregon Wind. Clearing Up.,Seminars%20International%20conference%20in%20April.

Inspire 2024 What Is the Best Alternative Energy Source To Replace Fossil Fuels? Inspire Clean Energy.

IPCC 2018 Global Warming of 1.5⁰C Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

IPCC 2023 CLIMATE CHANGE 2023 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Morgan K 2023 Concerns Arise Over Offshore Wind Energy. . Midwater Trawlers Cooperative.

NASA 2024 GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (v4) Analysis Graphs and Plots. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Point2. 2022 How many households are there in Oregon? Oregon Demographics Point2.,have%20renters%20living%20in%20them.

Pyrsmian 2024 CAN RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES REPLACE FOSSIL FUELS? Insight; Pyrsmian Group Magazine

Samoya M 2023 Oregon agencies support floating offshore wind project, but ask for more federal engagement. Oregon Public Broadcasting

Solutions 2024a see what 100% renewable energy could look like where you live in the year 2050. The Solutions Project

Solutions 2024b see what 100% renewable energy could look like where you live in the year 2050. The Solutions Project.

Wilkinson F. 2023 Industrialization, Labor, and Life National Geographic.

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